Sunday, September 27, 2009

SURROGATES - weakly plotted sci-fi thriller

There have been a couple of movies recently that tackle the issue of avatars and virtual relationships. In GAMER, an updated version of RUNNING MAN, the ability to pilot real-life chip-implanted humans brings out the worst in humanity. As with today’s plain vanilla internet, advanced IT is used most commonly to allow humans to indulge vices as old as time. You can disapprove of the nasty, misogynistic, bleak depiction of humanity at the core of GAMER, but sad to say, the numbers support it. By contrast, the new Bruce Willis sci-fi thriller SURROGATES, posits a world in which the ability to pilot robot avatars has resulted in a safer, if anodyne, world. Humans have retreated to their pyjamas and their lounges, steering robots through life instead. Of course, the robots are our younger, idealized selves, but the exploitation at the heart of GAMER is absent. Indeed, in a world full of robots, crime rates have dropped dramatically. There is, however, a resistance movement that wants humans to get back into actual contact with each other. The plot of the movie sees two cops (Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell) hunting for a new weapon that has been used to kill real people by killing their surrogates. The existence of such a weapon threatens the very point of having surrogates in the first place – cocooning people from harm. There are some shenanigans involving the resistance movement and the original creator of the surrogates (James Cromwell) - and stakes so high, and motivation so iillogical, as to be ludicrous. It's all as uninteresting as the premise of a crime-free robot-induced future is unbelievable. The only impressive thing about the film is the make-up. They really did a great job of creating the life-like but ever-so-slightly plastic look of the surrogates.

SURROGATES is on release in Australia, Hong Kong, Israel, Kazakhstan, Russia, Canada, Poland, Turkey, the UK and the US. It opens next week in Egypt, Hungary, singapore, South Korea, Bulgaria, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Itopens on October 9th in the Czech Republic, Brazil, Denmark and Estonia. It opens on October 15th in the Netherlands and Spain. It opens on October 22nd in New Zealand, Slovenia and the Ukraine. It opens on October 28th in Belgium, france, Argentina and Portugal. It opens on November 5th in Greece and Italy. It opens on January 5th in Italy; January 21st in Germany and January 22nd in Japan.

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